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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 February, 2005, 10:38 GMT
Prince's road to second marriage
Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles
Prince Charles met country-loving Camilla in 1971 at a polo match.
The young Camilla Shand, who came out as a debutante in 1965, first met Prince Charles at a polo match in 1970.

She was described by a friend as then a "very fanciable" slim blonde, with an earthy sense of humour.

A year later, it is claimed she told him: "My great-grandmother was your great-great-grandfather's mistress so how about it?"

But, after Charles decided to concentrate on a naval career, Camilla married her long-standing admirer, Major Andrew Parker Bowles, in 1973.

Two marriages

But she stayed in contact with Prince Charles and they became close again by the end of the 1970s.

Indeed, Camilla was official escort to the Prince during the Zimbabwean independence celebrations in 1980.

In 1981 Charles married Diana Spencer, a union said to have been encouraged by Mrs Parker Bowles - he is said to have proposed in the Parker Bowles' vegetable garden.

'Three's a crowd'

But marriage did little to quell their passion and two years after the birth of Prince Harry in 1984 their relationship had been rekindled.

A jealous Diana, Princess of Wales, was said to have nicknamed Mrs Parker Bowles "The Rottweiler".

Camilla Parker Bowles and Princess Diana
Mrs Parker Bowles and Princess Diana at Ludlow Race Course, 1980

Famously in a television interview she said: "There were three in the marriage, so it was a bit crowded."

In 1992 the "Camillagate" tape - a recording of an intimate telephone conversation between the two - surfaced.

In the recording, Prince Charles was heard telling her "I love you" and other personal endearments.

Mrs Parker Bowles kept silent, but in 1994 the prince admitted to Jonathan Dimbleby in a TV documentary that he had committed adultery.

The "other woman" became a national hate figure - women threw bread rolls at her in a supermarket.

In 1995 she and Andrew Parker Bowles divorced and she became a regular at the prince's Highgrove home.

Finally accepted

In August 1997 Diana died in a Paris car crash and Camilla was forced to take a less high profile position.

It was not thought the public could countenance a "replacement Diana".

However, in 1999 Mrs Parker Bowles met Princes William and Harry and hosted a 50th birthday party for Prince Charles, and in 2000 met the Queen.

In June 2004, she appeared for the first time in the prince's official accounts - a sign her role as Royal mistress was finally being accepted.


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